Cool soft air, a light wind and sun in the treetops. Warm breeze playing around my neck, and I feel complete.
A badly sprained left hand makes me more aware than usual of my vulnerability. I am alert, picking my way carefully through trees and brambles, tangled hedges, over roots, mud and stones, down the hill, with my kit on my back and arms loaded with red sticks. I am looking for the perfect place to make my piece of work. I miss nothing. I am attentive to the slightest change in the air: drifting earthy scents and sounds, and from time to time the golden light of the sun filtering through the tree canopy.
A wood pigeon flaps noisily up beside me, and disappears into the trees. Where I walk, it is quiet and calm, occasionally punctuated by the creaks and groans of live wood, or a roar of wind high above, making all the leaves shake and rustle.
That’s strange – the orangey red of my painted sticks is exactly the same colour as the berries at my feet. I find myself beginning to notice these funny little plants and clusters of berries wherever I go. In fact, I see now that by bringing such a strongly contrasting element into the woods, I have heightened my sensitivity to the entire environment: the soft greens, the vitality, the subtle differences in texture, pattern and formation, the movement, the fleeting light, the cool air…
As I work the curlew call across the estuary and beyond that is the drone of distant traffic.
This task is not easy! I cannot find anything to stand on, and the branch I have chosen to hang my work is a little high. I balance precariously on my scrunched up rucksack, hoping my camera and bottle of water inside won’t crack under my weight… tying up the sticks with cotton threads, using one good arm and a few fingers of my left hand.
Here is the piece I made. It is part of a new series I am making, called “Neighbourhood”.